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Q&A: What is informed consent?

How can I make sure that I don't get any tests or treatments that I don't want? And, how can I be sure that I always know what's going on during my visits and am getting all the relevant information?

Re: How can I make sure that I don't get any tests or treatments that I don't want? And, how can I be sure that I always know what's going on during my visits and am getting all the relevant information?

The Bump Expert

Communication is huge when it comes to keeping tabs on your prenatal care. Don't be afraid to ask questions, and let your doctor know that you'd like to be involved in decision about your care -- it's your right as a patient. If you don't understand something that a doctor has explained to you, ask for clarification. Before you agree to a test or treatment, ask your doc to explain exactly what it is and why it's needed, and make sure she lets you know about the risks, benefits and other options. (This is known as informed consent and is your doc's legal obligation.) As long as you ask for the facts, build a trusting relationship with your practitioner, and keep the communication lines open, everything should be just fine -- and you'll never feel like you're in the dark when you hop up on the examination table.

American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists. Your pregnancy and birth. 4th ed. Washington, DC: ACOG; 2005.

Erin Walters